Germany is building the largest army in Europe
Germany is in the process of building Europe’s largest army, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a pledge marking a 180-degree turn in the country’s historic stance on defense.
Post-Cold War Germany steadily reduced its army number from about 500,000 troops at the time of reunification in 1990 to just 200,000. Its military spending for decades has been extremely cautious – until Berlin’s approach changed abruptly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Days after the start of the full-scale war, Scholz announced a € 100 billion ($ 105 billion) fund to strengthen Germany’s military defense and offset decades of chronic underfunding – none of which is directly linked to arms shipments in Ukraine.
He also pledged to meet NATO’s target of spending two per cent of GDP on defense, as well as to increase its high-strength forces from 40,000 to more than 300,000 troops.
This followed years of criticism from close allies that the Bundeswehr was not contributing enough to the Alliance.
In an interview on public television ARD after the G7 group meeting of the world’s richest nations in Bavaria, the chancellor said that Germany, along with the US, made “certainly the greatest contribution” to NATO.
He said: “The largest conventional army in Europe is being built within NATO and this is important for NATO defense capacity as a whole.”
The Social Democrat leader, who hosted the summit, stressed the need for the G7 economies to “stand together and support the Ukrainians in defending their country.”
He acknowledged that “all G7 countries are concerned about the crises we are facing”, but in a more hopeful tone added: “I am very, very, very confident that we will be able to send a very strong signal. clear unity and decisive from this summit ”.